I don't know how to garden, BUT when I discovered permaculture it all made sense and now I am very enthusiastic and have already got a hugel bed in the back yard. HOWEVER. There are enormous gaps in my knowledge. Soooo hopefully someone could answer my question.
I have spagehtti squash seeds straight out of the squash (it was yesterday's lunch) can I just dump those seeds in my hugel bed now? or do I have to dry them or soak them or... um.... also it's very moist in the PNW right now and it still freezes from time to time. So should I wait till spring to plant them?
BUT... I have thrown half rotted squash into the snow during January and come back to that area in the spring to find a colony of squash seedlings.
SO... your results may vary.
Watch out, maybe hugels have replaced chickens as the permaculture 'gateway drug'
I'd definitely wait till it warms-late spring is general squash-planting time round here.
As Craig says, you can just dry squash seeds, but I find leaving flesh on makes them more likely to mould.
I ferment my squash and tomato seeds.
I cover seeds with water and leave in a warm place till the water's surface starts to look bubbly-usually around 5-7 days.
I've forgotten about pumpkin seeds for a couple of weeks and they've been fine, although the water smelled pretty bad!
If the flesh comes off cleanly when I rub a couple of seeds between my fingers, they're ready to go.
I dump them in a sieve and rub off all the flesh,
give them a good rinse and leave to dry in the shade for several days.
It's really important they're completely dry, or they'll go mouldy in storage.
a couple of thoughts. Plants grow without people being involved. Part of how they do it is to throw lots of attempts out there. In a natural system the area would be overrun with squash very quickly if all the seeds one plant produced were to germinate successfully. Nature accepts loses and plans accordingly.
You could just take your squash seeds and toss them into your garden plot tomorrow and take your chances on what happens next. In fact, if I were in your place, I would probably do just that. But I like to experiment and I would think of any squash plants that came from this one as a sort of bonus
People tend to want a higher success rate from the things they plant than Nature expects from her efforts, and so we do things to give our seeds a better chance. We take them in where animals are less likely to get to them. Dry them against fungus and other rots. We start them carefully in special pots, or hold off planting them until the weather is favorable for their kind. We do all this because we want as high a germination rate as we can get.
We put lots of work into getting that high germination rate. At the same time, one of the ideas with permaculture gardening is to try and do as little as possible. To let the natural order handle as much of the work as possible.
Self-seeding annuals are one of the ways to achieve this. For example, let us say you plant your squash seeds in the spring after the last frosts, and you have a good year with numerous squash in the fall. When you harvest, you miss a couple that are hidden under he big leaves. Critters get to them, chew them up, eat some seeds, stash some seeds, knock some seeds around and scuffle them into the dirt a bit. Come spring, some of those forgotten stash seeds start sprouting. Some of those scuffled under the dirt pop up in another place. You have squash growing again, and you did not do a thing, except Not harvest one or two fruit last fall.
How you do your garden depends on many things and there are many different ways hat work. People choose to maximize different elements, resulting in different approaches. It is all good.
All the other ways might work too... I get plenty of wildlings from fruit that have rotted in the garden and sprouted in spring.
Matt Smaus wrote:I live in the PNW, as well, and second what Paul said, above. The one thing I'll add is that there is a very good chance that seed will not produce a spaghetti squash like the one you ate. Anything could have pollinated the squash, from a zucchini to a pumpkin. BUT, it will be fun to find out! I accidentally crossed a variety called "Sweet Meat" with a giant pumpkin, which I figured out only after they grew this year. And grew. And grew. And grew!
Squash are promiscuous, that's for sure. And some of the results are really visually interesting - like two different varieties were just glued together.
I agree with purchasing specific varieties rather than using seeds from your squash. It's fun to reuse some that were pollinated with a different variety if you have a lot of extra, but if you are looking forward to a specific variety, you don't want to end up with a bunch of weird hybrids that you don't even like.
Squash can be affected by mildews, squash bugs, squash vine borer (your area might be too cold for that though), and probably other stuff I'm not thinking about. I've typically had mine in the garden though. This year I'm going to try putting some seeds in various places around the property hoping the vine borers and squash bugs don't find all of them.
Thanks again for all the replies!
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